Montgomery leaders continue to collaborate with officials from across the state of Alabama to strengthen ties.
Mayor Todd Strange has just returned from a retreat with the mayors of Alabama's five major cities. The mayors from Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile and Tuscaloosa came together for two days in their ongoing efforts to forge relationships and share ideas and best practices for dealing with the challenges facing their communities.
Public safety is one of the topics that's been discussed among the municipalities, including the way Montgomery manages its law enforcement agencies.
Montgomery Public Safety Director Christopher Murphy says the city has seen results by having its police department, fire department, emergency management and emergency communications department working together in a coordinated fashion and the success of the collaboration has other cities taking note.
Murphy told WSFA that the consolidation all safety-related operations in the Capital City is the best way of doing business, saving the city money and enabling the agencies to better manage day-to-day operations and any crises.
"The four agencies that are involved in the Montgomery Department of Public Safety were all working very well, they're great agencies on their own but they were working parallel very well but they weren't collaborating as much and playing off of one another and utilizing the brain trust of putting everything together and so it's just a much more efficient model," he said.
Leaders from other cities, including Wetumpka and Mobile, have gathered information on the effectiveness of Montgomery's Public Safety Department.
This past September, Mobile officials visited Montgomery to share ideas about moving the cities forward. Colby Cooper, Chief of Staff for the City of Mobile, told WSFA: "There's a lot going on in Montgomery that we can learn from."
Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis says his staff has looked at the consolidation and "weighed the possibilities as to how it would work and be an asset as we continuously look at ways to improve and best reach the needs of our citizens."
Director Murphy says it's rewarding to know that other cities see Montgomery as a resource.
"I am proud that other cities have reached out to us and said, 'How are you doing that?' and 'How's that working?' because they see particularly in these economic times you want to be efficient and effective at the delivery of government services," Murphy said. "I think it has been successful in Montgomery and I think that's because of the participants and the players but it just makes business sense."
The University of Michigan has reached out to Montgomery officials to learn more about the unified Public Safety Department. The university is looking to develop a teaching model for a public safety leadership course.
Murphy says the state has also consulted with him and other public safety officials in Montgomery in their efforts to streamline the state's public safety functions.
"We're all striving for the same thing- to have quality public safety services but do it in an efficient manner," Murphy added.